sat 21/09/2019

Visual Arts Reviews

Manga, British Museum review - stories for outsiders

Katherine Waters

Manga, the Japanese art of the graphic novel, took its modern form in the 1800s. Illustrated stories already had a long heritage in Japan — encompassing woodblock prints and illustrated scrolls and novels — but the introduction of the printing press by foreign visitors changed the rate at which works could be made and the extent of their distribution.

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Anish Kapoor, Lisson Gallery review - naïve vulgarity and otherworldly onyx

Katherine Waters

There are children screaming in a nearby playground. Their voices rise and fall, swell and drop. Interspersed silences fill with the sound of running, the movement and cacophony orchestrated by a boy who leads on the catch tone. It's simultaneously otherworldly and juvenile, adept and improvised  a fitting soundtrack to Anish Kapoor's latest exhibition at Lisson Gallery. 

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58th Venice Biennale review - confrontational, controversial, principled

Katherine Waters

There’s a barely disguised sense of threat running through the 2019 Venice Biennale. Of the 79 participating artists and groups, all are living and there’s a sharp sense that the purpose of the exhibition is to diagnose the ills afflicting the contemporary world.

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Cathy Wilkes, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale review - poetic and personal

Katherine Waters

Dried flowers like offerings lie atop a gauze-covered rectangular frame. Pebbles surround its base alongside plaster casts, a desiccated dragonfly and an animal foot charm. Their placement is purposeful; their exact significance unclear. Four rib-high figures with moon faces, sausage string necks and wafer-thin bodies face the frame. Three wear golden gowns like devotees or disciples; all bear pendulous, darkly bellying stomachs before them over their clothes.

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Fetes and Kermesses in the Time of the Brueghels, Musée de Flandre review - all the fun of the fair

Mark Sheerin

Cassel in Flanders is surrounded by the gentle and verdant landscapes that inspired Pieter Bruegel the Elder to create the populous and festive scenes for which he is still known and loved, 450 years after his death. Now the small town is celebrating his celebrations with a show at the new Musée de Flandre dedicated to his country fairs and weddings.

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Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration review - big views bring new light

Florence Hallett

Placed in a long and artfully Arcadian vista, earthy bronze subdued against verdant grass and trees, the restless form of Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, 1979-81 (Main picture), both disrupts and is absorbed by its surroundings.

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Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, Design Museum review - immersive detail

Tom Birchenough

Who would have known that the word “Kubrickian” only entered the Oxford English Dictionary last year? You’d have thought that one of the great film directors of the 20th century would have earned his own epithet long ago.

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Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, National Gallery review - a national treasure comes to London

Marina Vaizey

The National Gallery is on a roll to expand ever further our understanding of western art, alternating blockbusters dedicated to familiar and bankable stars, with selections of work by lesser known figures from across the centuries.

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Who’s Afraid of Drawing? Works on Paper from the Ramo Collection, Estorick Collection review - surprising and rewarding

Katherine Waters

Paper is traditionally the medium though which artists think. Stray thoughts and experiments can be quickly tried out, pushed further or jettisoned. There are no penalties for starting something which goes wrong or transforms into something else because material is cheap, expendable. Erasure or high finish are equally likely, dead ends and new directions begin in the same place.

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Sea Star: Sean Scully, National Gallery review - analysing past masters

Florence Hallett

Either side of a doorway, framing a view of Turner’s The Evening Star, c. 1830 (Main picture), Sean Scully’s Landline Star, 2017, and Landline Pool, 2018,  frankly acknowledge their roots.

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